Carlson Orchards, located in Harvard, is a 75 year old family run orchard on 140 acres. Last weekend I went with a rather large group to orchard and we had a blast!
After pulling off Route 2, we snaked our way up a winding road to the top of a hill where we found the orchard. There were flaggers in the parking lot, not that it’s a huge lot, but more for children’s safety as kids were running around everywhere having a ball! We passed their 1,050 solar panels and solar power plant on our way in at the front of the orchard. The panels were installed in 2010 and they supply about 80% of the electricity needed cooperate the orchard. It’s both amazing and sustainable!
At the head of the orchard, there is a table set up with a friendly lady who can answer any questions and get you set up with a map, bags and directions to your desired apples. We headed out towards the back of the orchard as my Dad and I wanted Cortland Apples, our favorite “baking” apples. They hold their shape better than the softer varieties like McIntosh or McCoun which can get mushy in a baked pie or crisp.
The apples were perfect for picking and the trees were full of them! After finding the Cortlands, we headed back towards the stand and passed McCoun, Gala and McIntosh. We grabbed a bunch of each! They’re all great snacking apples and they’re also delicious additions in various recipes.
After picking all of our apples, we headed for the stand. We found beautiful mums, pumpkins and gourds on display outside the stand. Just inside the stand, we found apple-y things such as apple bread mix, apple wine, sparkling apple cider, apple salsa, apple chutney, apple sauce… The list goes on! In the cold cases, we found apple cider, lemonades, local cheese, spreads, and Carlson’s nectarines… I’m going to pause there…
Now. These nectarines weren’t just good. They have set the bar for fruit excellence! I expected and found that the apples were outstanding. But I was anticipating that, Carlson Orchards is known for their delicious apples. The nectarines however, were a welcome surprise! I have NEVER had a nectarine that was so perfectly ripe, juicy and sweet! I shared them with a bunch of people at work and led with “this piece of nectarine will change your life!” I plan to visit the orchard again next weekend and will be purchasing more than one quart as everyone wants some!
There was also fresh, hot apple crisp available in the stand…um… Delicious! It was perfectly sweet and had phenomenal apple flavor. Quite a few people in out group enjoyed it! The stand was beautifuly decorated, had a great selection of Carlson Orchard and other local products and the staff was friendly and fun!
There are only a few short weeks left of apple and nectarine season left, so high-tail it up to Carlson Orchards soon!
PS – I’d like to thank my new buddy Sarah for the beautiful photography!! The photos are outstanding!!